You're allowed to be messy, my friend!
"Do I have to be perfect to be a coach?"
A fear I’ve noticed in many people who are thinking about joining a helping profession is that they will have to be better, know more, have their lives together, and be a role model to those they serve.
While there’s a grain of truth in that - coaches are certainly always learning and growing and doing our best to practice what we preach - there’s a real danger in holding ourselves to unrealistic standards.
I remember the day I decided to take my first coaching course. A Canadian coach had come to the town where I was living in Kenya. She sat eight of us women around a gorgeous, mahogany table to ask us just three simple, classic coaching questions: What do you want? What is stopping you? What will you do next?
I knew I wanted to study coaching, and yet I heard this screechy, awful voice in my head asking me, “Who do you think you are?” And as soon as I recognized that voice, it was crystal clear to me that the “Who do you think you are” question has no right to be calling the shots.
That was the day I finally signed up for a coach training course - and thank God I did. The coaching way of being has changed my life.
Every single person on earth wrestles with wondering if I’m enough. If I can stand up and do the brave thing I’m called to (think Moses, for example). At some point, we all ask, “Who do I think I am?”
But that’s not a relevant question when you become a coach. Because deep in the connective tissue of our common humanity is the knowledge that we are not here to change, fix, mend, or solve anybody. We are here to love.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “How am I supposed to pretend to be brilliant, wise, peaceful, calm, and masterful at everything? How can I be a role model for my amazing clients?” Know that you’re not alone.
Coaching can be intimidating. Yes, your clients will write a book, get a huge promotion, fall back in love with their spouse, move to another country on a great mission, buy their first home, etc.
And you don’t have to somehow be more than they are, do more, have more. It’s not possible to be either more accomplished or messed up than the biggest, best and worst of all your clients combined.
Your job is to show up with your whole heart to see the beauty in the other person, exactly the way they are right now.
Your job is not to be the expert in the other person’s life, to know how to lead their team, to parent their child, to purchase their next home. Your job is to believe in them enough, through all their self-doubts and fears, to see them expand as a person.
They are the expert in their own life. So don’t let your own fears about your own enough-ness get in the way of bringing your curiosity, trust, and your whole heart to those you are called to serve.
And, for the record, no you don’t have to be perfect. You just need to be present. Your wild and messy and wonderful self is already enough.
With great love,